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The Face in the Courthouse Window

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I traveled to Carrollton, Alabama to witness firsthand an old ghost story that may dad would tell my brother and me growing up. The version I know goes like this:

The Pickens County courthouse was burned to the ground by Union troops in 1876. The citizens of Pickens County rebuilt their beloved courthouse, only to see it burned down again a few years later. Needless to say the people of Carrollton – the county seat and home to the symbol of Southern pride- were furious and demanded justice. The people of Carrollton targeted their rage at Henry Wells. Henry was a black man which contributed to him being the target of an angry southern public in the late 1800’s. He was arrested and charged with arson. The townsfolk learned of his arrest, and word spread faster than the fire that started the whole mess. The sheriff moved Wells to the third floor of the newly rebuilt courthouse for his protection. Henry Wells looked down at the lynch mob that had gathered below as a storm blew in. Someone looked up and saw Wells in the window and shouted up at him. The legend goes that Wells yelled at the crowd, “If you kill me I will haunt this courthouse forever” or something to that effect. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the window Henry was leaning against, killing him instantly and burning his face into the glass. The window has been replaced several times over the years, but the face always returns to look down on the people of Pickens County.

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The town square is eerie. It feels like someone is watching your every move. There is a viewer across the street where you can look up and see the face, and it is clearly visible. It’s hard to get a good picture of but that just adds to the effect. If you are in the area it is worth a quick stop to see it.

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